Japanese beer and whisky maker Suntory Holdings Ltd. has been revealed to be in talks with Diageo PLC, a U.K.-based holding company, to make a joint-purchase of U.S. bourbon brand Jim Beam for a price $10 billion. While nothing has been made official at this point, Suntory’s partial ownership of Jim Beam, which also owns the Maker’s Mark and Canadian Club brands of liquor, would be a huge advantage for the Japanese company’s overseas growth.
While Diageo, which oversees the brands Guinness, Johnnie Walker, and Smirnoff, has been interested for some time in acquiring Beam, even speaking with other firms before Suntory. The Japanese brewer has pointed out that talks were held with Diageo in the spring and summer of 2012, the Illinois-based Beam has not been approached, nor has a bid offer been settled on. Like other Japanese food and drink companies, Suntory struggles with the nation’s shrinking market, and must look to overseas purchases to increase revenue.
But the maker of one of Japan’s most popular whisky brands says Beam’s current share price is far too expensive, meaning a joint-purchase won’t likely happen anytime soon. Likewise with Diageo, who is already engaged in several takeover deals, including the Mexican tequila brand Jose Cuervo, making any acquisition of Beam before next year unlikely.
[via Market Watch]